Thursday, August 28, 2014

Flaming Desire (still)

A few years ago, I was obsessed with stitching hazard signs, both real and imaginary. For some reason, the international warning symbol for “Radiation” was one of the first things I ever embroidered, back in 2010. I still have it in pillow form on my bed, even after all of the changes in my life.

Flammable tank. 2014.

I went on to embroider lots of flammable warning signs and a Do Not Enter sign that currently hangs in my living room. But once I began exploring embroidery on watercolors, I haven’t revisited the wonderful world of hazard signs.

One of my first embroideries, Radiation, in 2010.

These days I’m working on a giant x stitch self portrait of my eyes and doing little else with my limited creative time. But I did make myself this little tank top with an appliqued “Flammable” warning sign. A small, quick project that makes me happy.

Do Not Enter, hand embroider, 2011.

I want to revisit the world of hazard signs. Especially ones that I make up. It’s on my very, very long list of projects.

For now, here is a tune for you...  Bill Nelson’s Flaming Desire, from 1982. I used to love back in the day. It’s what plays in my head when I wear this little tank! My heart is still very full.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Half Mad: Another 50 x 50 Stitches

Now I can see out of one eye, at least.

Another square(ish) completed on my Spanish eyes.

This project is insane. Truly insane. What the hell was I thinking? I know that making art requires sitting still, but I hadn't considered just how much sitting still a 6 x 14.5 inch cross stitch would take.

It measures 6 x 14.5 inches. 14 count Aida. 

As I mentioned before, this is my second cross stitch piece. My first design.

I've been binge watching Girls, spending hours alone, bent over the Aida, trying to recreate my own eyes. Rebuilding them, one pixel at a time, in 34 shades of DMC floss.

The colors of my face are tawny.

I feel half mad. I doubt myself.

Mostly, I stitch alone, at night.

I keep going. Hopeful that this will come together. (I may have other personality problems, but no one can accuse me of having a lack of hope!)

It feel like a metaphor for something larger.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Mirror of My Right Eye (Coming into Focus)

Last weekend, I drove up to visit my old friend Keefie in the rolling, green Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I did not bring any painting or watercolor stitching. Instead I dusted off this behemoth.

WIP: Spanish Eyes. My first x-stitch design.

We sat in a cafe -- her knitting, me stitching. It was so nice to get back to my self-portrait x-stitch of my eyes. It's been too long.

Nice to see it coming into focus. But it is huge!

My eyes. They are my high beams, peering out into the world, giving me so much -- as an artist, as a human. My two-way mirrors, into and out from my beautiful life.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Sticks, Take 1

A tiny piece I finished today that I'm calling Summer Sticks.

Summer Sticks. Watercolor, solvent ink
 and pearle cotton hand embroidery, 2014

It's a small watercolor in the saturated hues that are my current obsession. With a little pair of crossed sticks done in solvent black ink.

I do love the colors. The blue pops in a way I couldn't capture in photos.

Much simpler than the Planets of Durham. Fewer colors and layers. I'm happy with it and I'm ready to try it on a bigger scale.

WIP. Plotting layers.

Next up... Something entirely different, made from painted corks.

This aquamarine blue is catching my eye these days!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Planets overboard

I recognized early on that this piece had too much going on. Too many colors, shapes and textures.

Planets of Durham, stitched watercolor, 2014.

But I didn't care, because it was an experiment with trying different techniques.

Detail of textures.

I haven't figured out how to bring the solvent ink shapes into my stitched watercolors. I think it might be able to work with a far simpler background image.

First go around of planets.

Next time I'll keep it quieter.

I experimented with solvent ink hexagons.

But, even if this is an overboard, failed piece, I like it because I was reminded how much I love color and how much I have to be selective with it.

Too much going on, but it was a fun learning process.

Time to get back to playing.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

String Box 3 & Red O

I've been trying to be more focused with my work and spend more time making a mess and playing than keeping my apartment perfectly neat.

Detail from String Box 3.

This tiny space is my current studio. I've given myself permission to be a little sloppier in my place.

String Box 3, hand embroidery on watercolor painted watercolor paper.

Finished two pieces this weekend!

In the sun.

First up, String Box 3. A stitched watercolor.

Next up, Red O.

Red O. Solvent ink stencil over acrylic paint.

The stencil is by Cat Manolis, my teacher at ArtSpace Raleigh. I'm loving playing with solvent inks.

Making a happy mess with solvent ink and painter's tape.

Ink is a whole new world to explore!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Saturated (Color and life)

And now.... Scenes from my ongoing obsession with saturated colors.

WIP: String Box 3. Hand embroidery on watercolor paper.

I'm making a String Box stitched watercolor just for me.

WIP: early scene, String Box 3.

Pearle cotton, No 8. Black, blue, pink and yellow,

Painting watercolors in my beloved saturated pinks, reds and yellows.

My recent experiences with my boyfriend and friends in the California desert exposed me to an entirely different color palette.

Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert.

Hiking to an oasis in the overwhelming heat bleached out my mind and vision. But the rusts, browns and smokey greens were as intense as my saturated pinks and yellows.

The textures, too.

So much to explore visually with these entirely different hues.

And finally, I'm taking a wonderful painting and design class at Artspace in Raleigh for the next several weeks. Artist and designer Cat Manolis is our instructor. She shot this photo and made this stencil of my face for me.

Stencil by Cat Manolis. Painted layers by me.

This stencil will be played with and explored in the coming months. For now, here it is in solvent ink on and layered acrylic background.

Stitch-speration in the sky.
And, for no good reason, except that I'm happy... fireworks!